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How Much Can I Afford?

Knowing how much you can afford to pay is a crucial step in your search. Nailing down your budget early will make the overall process more focused and less stressful.

Here’s a good way to figure out how much you can afford:

The 28/36 Rule

The 28/36 rule is an established benchmark used by many lenders to determine how much credit to offer you. Here's how it works:

 


 

Get preapproved for a mortgage. Your lender can approve you for a certain to loan amount prior to your home search. This gives you a solid number against which you can assess the affordability of the houses you visit.

 



 

 

The "28" refers to the notion that no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly household income should go toward housing costs, which include mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance.

To calculate, simply multiply your gross monthly income (amount before taxes) by .28. Use this amount as a guide for how much house you can afford.

Example: You earn an annual salary of $70,000. Divide 70,000 by 12, giving you a monthly gross income of $5,833. Multiply that by .28, and you'll find you should spend no more than $1,633 each month on total housing costs.

The "36" part of the 28/36 rule refers to your overall debt, which shouldn't exceed 36 percent of your income. This is important to consider because other high monthly debt loads – such as car and credit card payments – impact the amount you can afford to spend on housing.

For first-time home buyers, the tricky part is knowing how much to budget for taxes and insurance. I can assist you with this.

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Community Updates

Beware the (I'll get your home sold in a week) agent in The

Beware the (I'll get your home sold in a week) agent

The "Real" Estate Blog

I hear this one all the time from prospects looking to list their house. "Well, agent xyz told us that if we listed with her, she'd have it sold in a week." This would fall into the category of "If it sounds too good to be true, the probably is." The majority of agents are not going to make this claim, but rather will give you an honest market analysis, inform you as to how weak or strong the market is, especially the market in which your home resides, and present the objective facts. A good agent will then lay out an effective marketing plan, where the majority of the focus should be on "online marketing". Be careful to not get caught up in empty promises, reduced commissions, and being talked in to lowering your price below market value (unless you must have a quick sale). The key to choosing a good listing agent is to objectively determine who is going to provide you the best opportunity to sell your home. Will your listing agent also aggressively work to find buyers, or will they just list your home and wait for another agent to do the work.

Buyer and seller real estate app, right at your fingertips. in The

Buyer and seller real estate app, right at your fingertips.

The "Real" Estate Blog

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The Family Diner in Spirit Lake

The Family Diner

Spirit Lake

The Family Diner is Spirit Lake, IA is a local favorite! They offer up a large portion for small money, but whether you come early or late you may be in for a wait. With homemade bread and the largest sausage patty you have seen, The Family Diner is consistently delicious. They are open only for breakfast and lunch and closed two days a week. In my former career at Stylecraft, the family diner was definately a favorite when our friends would visit from North Carolina. They were always inpressed with the bread and rolls and corn beef hash.

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